The antimentalists’ war against mentalism has not vanquished it. To examine why, we focus on two theses—mind as causal and internal—and three standard attacks against mentalism as defined by both theses: 1) mentalism implies dualism; 2) mind is unobservable, which hinders its scientific study; and 3) mentalism is impractical. These salients fail because: 1) if the mind is causal and internal, it must be material; 2) the observable/unobservable distinction is too problematic, with antimentalists equivocal about where to draw that line, with some even embracing publicly unobservable behavior as causally relevant; and 3) mentalism has not been demonstrated to be less practical than antimentalism. For the war on mentalism to succeed, stronger attacks must be devised, both scientific and philosophical. We contemplate some possibilities, while expressing doubts as to the wisdom of continuing the war. Peace may be better than war, and the resulting intellectual commerce may be good for both sides.
The Behavior Analyst – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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